In Photos: SpaceX's Dragon CRS-16 Cargo Launch and Rocket 'Water Landing'

Reusable Rockets

Tony Gray and Kenny Allen/NASA

This commercial resupply services mission — the 16th for SpaceX — delivered science experiments and other supplies to the International Space Station in the Dragon spacecraft.


Cory Huston/NASA

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center, workers prepare the Robotic Refueling Mission-3 (RRM3) payload for transport to the SpaceX facility for the CRS-16 resupply mission to the ISS.

The Trip Begins

Cory Huston/NASA

Inside the semi, the RRM3 heads out from the Fuel Transfer Building to the SpaceX facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Important Cargo

Tony Gray and Kenny Allen/NASA

One part of the cargo on board the CRS-16 mission was the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation lidar (GEDI) which will send laser ranging observations of Earth's topography.

Earth Shines Behind


In another image by ESA's Alexander Gerst, the Earth plays an awesome backdrop to the Dragon spacecraft. The craft carries experiments to the ISS including the GEDI — to help understand the topography of Earth for carbon and water processes, biodiversity and habitat; RRM3 — to further develop technology for the Restore-L mission and other investigations; and more.

Ready for Mating


The Dragon capsule approaches the International Space Station to deliver the supplies on board. [Full Story: SpaceX Dragon Delivers Cargo (and Christmas Treats) to Space Station]

Joining the Party


A telling image shows four of the six spacecraft docked at the International Space Station after the Dragon's arrival — two Soyuz crew capsules, two Russian Progress cargo ships, a Cygnus cargo ship and the Dragon.

Capturing the Dragon


A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship arrives at the International Space Station on Dec. 8, 2018 to deliver 5,600 pounds of supplies for the outpost's Expedition 57 crew. Among that cargo: Christmas cookies, candied yams and green bean casserole.

On the Launchpad


A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket topped with a Dragon cargo spacecraft stands on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida ahead of its planned launch on Dec. 5, 2018.

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Christine Lunsford
Producer and Contributing Writer

Christine Lunsford joined the team in 2010 as a freelance producer and later became a contributing writer, covering astrophotography images, astronomy photos and amazing space galleries and more. During her more than 10 years with, oversaw the site's monthly skywatching updates and produced overnight features and stories on the latest space discoveries. She enjoys learning about subjects of all kinds.